Deliver hope to needy children in selected countries through quality health care, education and training by partnering with host country healthcare providers and civic leaders to build a positive legacy.
Accomplishing Our Mission
Doctors, nurses, specialists, volunteers, dreamers and doers; all are part of the SHARES team, and all work together to fulfill our mission of hope. Since 1994, the SHARES program has been coordinating mission trips to communities throughout Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the past two decades, we’ve helped thousands of underserved children realize a better life.
Focusing mainly on cleft lip palate surgery and physical therapy, the SHARES team provides free surgical and medical services to children born with facial and physical deformities. In addition to the immediate care we offer, we also work toward developing a lasting legacy, where sustainable medical services will endure long after we return home. This involves training local medical staff and close coordination with community/government leaders, facility directors, Rotary and Ministry of Health administrators.
We work diligently to create an organized and enriching experience for our patients and mission volunteers. Learn more about the specific details of our Cleft Lip Palate and Physical Therapy Programs and our schedule of upcoming mission trips.
Mission Trip General Overview
Each of our week-long mission trips are scheduled a year in advance, with much of the planning, recruitment and mobilization occurring in the ninety days leading up to the departure date. We utilize this time to:
- Determine our objectives and organize a plan of action with key individuals within our host country.
- Work with host country representatives to select potential patients and spread the word to area families about services coming to their area.
- Recruit members of our volunteer medical and nonclinical staff.
- Gather and package necessary medical and travel supplies.
- Ensure all international travel and lodging arrangements are finalized, along with customs paperwork, passports and vaccinations preparation.
Cleft Lip and Palate Mission Trips
Accessing our partnership sites within Latin America typically requires a full day of travel by plane and car—a minor commitment compared to the children who may spend days traveling with their families to the hospital where care will be provided. The volunteer SHARES team works in unison with the local team of caregivers to ensure quality medical services are made available for each of our patients. The first day after arrival in our host country is spent assessing and screening our patients, which can range from 25-50 children and adolescents. The following five days are spent in surgery, allowing for five to ten cases to be performed each day. Day seven we depart and return to our families here in Florida.
Depending on the case load, some surgical days can exceed twelve-hours. Challenging, yet deeply rewarding, our work dramatically changes lives for the better, and is most evident on the smiling faces of the children and families we serve. Find out more about the details of our Cleft Lip and Palate Program.
Physical Therapy Mission Trips
Even as a major tourist destination, rich in natural beauty and cultural significance, many children in Jamaica lack appropriate medical care—especially those afflicted with physical deformities. Florida Hospital has partnered with several care facilities in Jamaica to provide equipment, training and counsel. Our first two days on site are spent assessing patients, and establishing care plans to help them increase mobility and/or halt degenerative conditions from worsening. The next two to three days are spent training local caregivers—many of whom have not received formal medical training—in physical therapy. Additionally, our accompanying wheel chair specialist will fit, replace or make repairs to wheel chairs and other mobility assistance equipment. On day five, we depart Jamaica and return to Florida.
Because of how successful our services have become in Jamaica, we plan to expand our physical therapy program to other countries throughout the Caribbean and Latin America. Learn more about the specifics of our Physical Therapy Program.